Jury selection got underway Tuesday for the trial of a Pomona police officer charged with attempting to dissuade the family of a teenage boy, who was allegedly beaten by other officers, from pursuing an internal investigation into the incident.
Sgt. Michael Neaderbaomer is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly making false statements to the boy’s mother — a dispatcher with the Irwindale Police Department — and lying to the FBI about those statements.
Neaderbaomer is accused of falsely telling the mother that he had video footage showing her son, Christian Aguilar, trying to hit an officer and insisting that the teen would have to meet alone with police officials if he wanted to make a complaint.
Jury selection began around 1 Tuesday afternoon and is scheduled to resume late Wednesday morning. The trial before U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez is expected to last three days.
The trouble for Neaderbaomer began on Sept. 24, 2015, when Erain Aguilar walked into the Pomona Police Department to file a citizen’s complaint on behalf of her son. Weeks later, the mother received a call from Neaderbaomer in which the Internal Affairs Department sergeant allegedly tried to talk her out of pursuing an investigation into her son’s violent arrest at the Pomona Fairplex.
“Instead of encouraging her and her son to come forward to share their side of the story in a safe and neutral environment, defendant did the opposite,” according to the government’s trial memo.
Prosecutors allege Neaderbaomer left the woman a series of voicemails in which he falsely told her that any interview with her teenage son would have to be outside the presence of her or their attorney.
Two other Pomona officers — Chad Jensen and Prince Hutchinson — were initially charged together with Neaderbaomer in 2017. But Gutierrez subsequently severed Neaderbaomer’s case from that of his colleagues.
In January, Jensen and Hutchinson were acquitted in a retrial of charges stemming from the violent arrest of the teen. The first trial ended last October with jurors deadlocked 11-1 in favor of guilt on all counts.
Two years ago, the city of Pomona paid Aguilar $500,000 to settle a civil lawsuit over the encounter.
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